Bismarck PD Switches from Smith & Wesson M&P to Sig Sauer P320 with X-Ray Sights

Bismark Police Department's new SIG SAUER P320 (courtesy

“On Tuesday, the city commission approved nearly $30,000 for the purchase of 140 Sig Sauer P320 duty-size handguns with X-ray sight,” reveals, “and 20 Sig Sauer P320 compact-size handguns.” The BPD are ditching their Smith & Wesson M&Ps. “The department needs to replace our handguns due to some documented malfunctions and reliability concerns over the last couple of years,” Bismarck Police Chief Dan Donlin told the Trib. And what might those be?

The police chief says there’s a need for the switch.

Bismarck Police Chief Dan Donlin (courtesy

“They weren’t cycling as smoothly as they should so, we looked at it, we tried to troubleshoot the issues and the problems. We just had more and more officers that were stating they were having some problems,” said Bismarck Police Chief Dan Donlin (above).

He says out of all the guns they tested, the Sig Sauer P-320 is the most effectively.

Back to the Trib for an explanation of what makes the SIG SAUER P320 “most effectively”

Extensive testing of various firearms was conducted. In addition to the Sig Sauer P320s, the department tested the Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0, Glock 17 and Glock 19.

When the decision came down to the Sig Sauer P320s versus the Glocks, certified firearms instructors retested the guns.

“The Sig Sauer, in the majority of opinions, outperformed the Glock,” Donlin said. “It provided a lot more overall comfort and handling in the varying hand sizes of our officers.”

SIG SAUER P320 grip module size comparison (courtesy

The Sig Sauer P320 has three sizes of grip modules from which to choose to accommodate officers’ varying hand sizes.

“The Sig, out of the box, was very accurate. Even our best shooters couldn’t believe how much better they shot with the Sig versus the Glock,” Donlin said.

The city commission accepted Streicher’s bid of $29,975 for the [160] Sig Sauer P320s, which reflects the trade-in of the department’s current handguns.

Well now, all the handguns tested have “grip modules” to accommodate officers’ varying hand sizes. Anyway, after trading-in the BPD’s lightly-used M&Ps, Bismarck taxpayers are only forking-out $187.34 per smooth-cycling SIG. AND they get X-ray sights . . .



  1. avatar Mike says:

    Excellent choice. I have had Xrays on my 320 FS for 2 years now. They compliment each other nicely, assuming your eyes work well with the green HD frontsight.

  2. avatar LarryinTX says:

    Dafook is an “x-ray sight”?

    1. avatar Jeremy B. says:

      Similar to Trijicon’s HD night sights.

    2. avatar Robb says:

      I had to Google. They are Sig’s own sight. Guess they wanted something cool to call them.

      1. avatar Juice says:

        All of their new lines of sights, scopes, and optics are named after the NATO phonetic alphabet. Romeo red-dots, Whiskey riflescopes, Kilo rangefinders, etc.

    3. avatar jwm says:

      You gotta wear a lead apron with the gun.

    4. avatar anonymoose says:

      I have one on my .88 Magnum. It helps when shooting through schools.

  3. avatar DrewR says:

    I’m not saying this is 100% the case here, but it is amazing how bandwagon-y people can be. FBI switches back to 9mm and the market gets flooded with used 40s, the army switches to the p320 and dozens of Beretta 92s start showing up in the used gun cases, and, perhaps, police departments start saying “I want thaaaat.”

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      Sounds like it to me. Unless you plan on doing a lot of switching frames the APX is a better less expensive pistol. Gotta have what the boys in camo have.

    2. avatar drunkEODguy says:

      hey that’s fine, I would love to pick up a cheap beretta, just never wanted to pay full price or inflated used prices cause “muh military”

      I’ll see if I can find one to fit the holster I had for my plate carrier when I played soldier in stanland

      1. avatar Billy says:

        You must have been a remf or a POG if you played soldier.

  4. avatar Red in CO says:

    Yep, because if you don’t like the reliability of the M&Ps, you switch to the P320s. Those PDs that are abandoning the 320 in droves don’t know what they’re talking about! Sig made excellent handguns 20 years ago, so I’m sure they don’t REALLY fire themselves when you so much as breath on the back of the slide.


    1. avatar Billy says:

      Those days are fixed now. The 320 is back to being the best striker fired handgun

  5. avatar James R says:

    It always annoys me every time I hear of a department getting rid of a bunch of perfectly good guns so they can use taxpayer money to buy some newer toys. With how much an average cop uses their gun it should last 200 years.

    1. Nail on the head, other than the firing range the cops probably ” pull themselves more than their handgun”

    2. avatar Victoriaillinois says:

      I would guess that they’re not reliable because they aren’t cleaned regularly. If you eat in your car that powdered sugar on the donuts can really fly around, gets everywhere.
      (No one eats in my car, ever)

  6. avatar Michael says:

    And with over 18000 PDsin this country, that’s a lot of wasted taxpayers money

  7. avatar Smith Wesson says:

    I think they should be forced to go back to revolvers.

    1. avatar Snatchums says:

      They’ll learn that marksmanship matters, that’s for sure.

    2. avatar Wedge259 says:

      I wish they would if that meant we would see the PD trade in revolvers on the second hand market again! All the Mod 10’s and 64’s that were on the used market in the past few years have mostly dried up.

    3. avatar Hank says:

      Yep. That’s also why we should have an assault weapons ban and force magazine limits on the civilian populous.

      1. avatar Smith Wesson says:

        Not the same. Obviously they are doing a Job for which they have been hired. We, as their employer can specify what tools they are allowed.

        This is qualitatively different than our innate right to self defense and bearing of arms. Being an armed instance of the state is limited and none is born with the right to be a cop carrying a side arm with 30 rounds and an ar15 with 90 on tap.

    4. avatar Destroy all outlaws! says:

      Absolutely not. Hell burst wide open in 1977 in WV when the 1911s, tommy guns, and M16s were taken from the state troopers . The crime rate rurally sky rocketed. I got threatened for hunting ob my own land. Many good cops died because of that foolishness of under gunning them. And when troopers’ spouses and kids bought $88.00 Iver J carbines at Heck’s to keep their cop family members from being out gunned by everybody with a .30-30 lever gun…. They were labelled as Nazis and fascists! And I think that the police and citizens both should have high capacity magazines and semi autos, too!

  8. avatar Logan says:

    Bismarck, not bismark. It needs the C.

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    “‘The department needs to replace our handguns due to some documented malfunctions and reliability concerns over the last couple of years,’ Bismarck Police Chief Dan Donlin told the Trib.”

    Translation: The Chief’s retirement account just increased unexpectedly.

    1. So it took them years to figure all this out, jeez. I hate when we,re treated as morans. I would think they can show the years of documentation on the malfunction,s. Smith Wesson going thru some hard times right no, bargin prices for new guns, ” not used”. Oh, how will the dept sell guns that mafunction???

  10. avatar Defens says:

    What’s really scary, is that the company they trade those former police M&Ps to will likely sell them to a distributor like CDNN – and we’ll have former police tools of death being sold on the streets! The guns are probably racist, too – even worse! /sarc

    1. avatar SJB says:

      Take a reality pill…. id be willing to bet that 95% of the issues they are having are probably magazine related and easily fixed with new ones.
      Most likely sig just offered the best trade in deal.

  11. avatar MyName says:

    Wish I could get a SIG P320 for $214.

    1. avatar How_Terrible says:

      Me to

    2. avatar ai338 says:

      You can if you trade in a used m&p like that pd did.

    3. avatar Cliff Heath says:

      Yeah me too would love to get another Sig P-320, P-226. P229, while in the Navy in mid 80’s when military first switching to M-9 I bought a customized 92F from gunsmith even then it cost me $1100 thought it was great. As a GMG on USS ELLIOT DD-967, WE WERE WITH PERMISSION ABLE TO KEEP PERSONAL WEAPONS IN THE SHIP’S ARMORY , damn caps lock, any way 1 day GM’S went out to Otai Mesa to shoot. 1 of the fellow GMG’s hand a nice collection in a suitcase sized custom case for his weapons. We were shooting and since had the only Barretta we were trading off shooting each others pistols, my shipmate had a Sig P-220 first I had ever heard of them. It was the best shooting pistol I had ever fired damn it was accurate, I waited 30 years until 2015 before I was able to find, a trade-in from a private party for $500, P-226 .357 Sig. It felt great in my hand I loved it and with just a barrel change you also had a .40 cal. awhile in Dec 2015. and Jan. 2016 family checking on house found it and took it for safe keeping, Wasn’t long before 1 of my grand-nephews got caught with 200 opoids, he nailed out but had to come up with rest of bail by certain time. Can we guess where this is going………yes the little fucker sold my Sig to a private gunsmith, years ago my big brother called me in CA. and ask if he could pawn my Browning A-500 12 GA. I said yeah I guess just don’t lose it he also decided on his own to included my S&W MOD-19 .357 Magnum, he moved back to Alaska and 2 days before pawn ticket was up he called my sister, and of course when I moved back after Navy hitch was up I came back to Elko, NV. wanted to get my guns and found out what happened, never did get any replaced I waited 30 years for that Sig and now it is gone. Nobody can bend you over and break it off in your ass like family

  12. avatar Hank says:

    That’s a shame. The m&p is a good gun. I won’t knock the new 320 until I get a chance to shoot it myself though.

  13. avatar Adub says:

    I am amazed at how well I shoot my 320 out of the box compared to other guns I own. That said, with the light trigger, I expect an increase in NDs.

    Wish I could get a new 320 for $200…

    1. avatar Pixsurguy says:

      You can get an external thumb safety (like a 1911) for your Sig. I don’t know if all of the various modular “handgrips” have an appropriate cut for one so you might have to order a special one from Sig.

  14. avatar Montesa_VR says:

    I shot a P320 the last time I went to the rental range. Strongly preferred it to the Glock 17, and it also edged out the Springfield XDM.

    I have yet to shoot a Smith M&P.

    1. avatar Nicky says:

      The 320 trigger is pretty meh to me, it’s too light for my tastes. I like the gun overall, but thats mostly because I love P250’s. The P250 has a way better trigger in my opinion, but i prefer longer, heavier, but butter smooth triggers.
      M&P’s triggers feel like grinding chalk against broken glass, the grit on the one I shot was so bad. Glock triggers feel worse than 320 triggers, but their reset is amazing, but they just don’t point naturally for me. Never shot an XD.

  15. avatar Jason borne says:

    It’s about time..m&p and glock are crappy guns. I my self have MOD 2 service model 9mm and a S&W revolver. Never any issues. Sig is grate but just don’t like the feel. Now back to PD change its about time get with the program.

  16. avatar duroSIG556R says:

    I have purchased three Smith-Wesson firearms within the past three years. All three had finish issues, one had a function issue. Smith Wesson has grown lazy over the years. Their QC flat out sucks. I think this PD is making a better choice.

  17. avatar Steve says:

    I had a Smith&Wesson 9mm. It hung up constantly. Always getting jammed. Worse handgun i ever owned.

    1. Every gun maker has a lemon in the basket. I,ve learned this over my 76 years. Been married four times, so I know about lemons.

      1. avatar Bob says: do your 4 wives…(just kidding, William!)

  18. avatar Joseph Massimino says:

    While the Sig P320 is a much better gun than the SW MP, I’m sure that Smith and Wesson would have liked to hear about the issue, and resolve it rather than lose an account like a PD. So did they bring the issue to Smith and Wesson and get some feedback? Probably not, somebody loves the Sig guns, and made sure everything, no matter how well it was documented, ended up with the department getting all new Sig P320 pistols. This is just the way I see it going based on common sense. The common sense part is about Smith and Wesson not trying to resolve the PD’s issue before they switched to another weapon. To believe that Smith and Wesson had a chance to resolve this, and did nothing, defies rational thinking. if Smith and Wesson did anything, or made any repairs, they would have mentioned it, but they did not.

  19. avatar Russell Grayson says:

    I avoid S&W as a rule, but I’ve had a few that I liked. However the absolute WORST gun that I’ve ever owned (briefly–I sold it after three months) was an S&W 457–a compact .45 with a 3.75″ barrel. I HATED it in vocabulary that I rarely use when discussing a gun. I do like some of the newer SIGs, even own a polymer-framed SP2022 that is pleasant to shoot, accurate at self-defense ranges, but TOO HEAVY for anyplace but the magnet under my bed. With NO DOUBT, my 20-yr-favorite “daily driver” is an H&K P7M8. When the NJ State Police gave up theirs a decade and a half ago in an even-up (NO CASH!) trade-in deal for TWO NEW GLOCKS (a full-sized and a compact) for each used P7M8, I picked up two more–CRAZY cheap–at Ray’s on US Route 22 in South Plainfield (now closed.) Since then I ‘ve sold one to a cop as an off-duty gun for $2000…after he shot mine at the range he wouldn’t stop asking me to sell him one for almost 6 months. I’ve picked up a VP9 in the ensuing years that I also enjoy and like–but my every day belt-hanger is my trusty squeeze-cocked P7M8. It’s quite simply the most naturally aiming/shooting handgun that I’ve ever owned and I believe that “if it ain’t broke…”

    1. Thanks for providing us with your ” inventory of guns”. The subject was about the BS the dept. gave for switching firearms.

      1. avatar Russell Grayson says:

        Another wonderfully friendly, charming troll who can’t wait to dump on another commenter–the topic was broader than your narrow mind would like, and others have also shared their thoughts that this article inspired, which included the reputation for reliability of S & W firearms, and the wisdom of switching out to polymer framed SIGs. I chimed in, mentioning both, and digressed into my preference for a particular H&K, broadening the topic for anyone else who wished to read or chime in. Of course, I recognize that I made myself vulnerable to the highly intelligent and collegial, brilliant input of the inevitable nasty jerk with poor parenting and a personality disorder. These charmers pop up in far too many comment feeds–and here you are. What a surprise! My response to you consists of two words, and they aren’t Merry Christmas.

  20. avatar Ron R says:

    I guess they read the Military Times magazine and saw that UNCLE is switching to Sigs. Nice to know they can still understand writing!

  21. I find it hard to believe any police dept would put their officers on the streets with reliability issues with any brand fire arm. Having worked in a fire arms store I see this over and over. A new gun comes onto the market and suddenly the ones they have been using for years become defective, plus with a year end surplus in their budget that will not be there next year if this year isn’t used they must have new. The use it $$$ or loose it $$$ budget management issue. No need complaining that’s the way managers of the Swamp run things. Mikey

    1. Why would this be of interest to anyone?

      1. avatar Ansel Hazen says:

        Because this means they will probably wind up on AIM Surplus in the near future.

  22. avatar Jeremy says:

    Yeah, all of a sudden those unreliable m&p’s aren’t acceptable for duty. Give me a break. I actually like the P320 more than the M&p, but it has nothing to do with reliability. I just shoot the P320 consistently better than the M&p, but both are reliable as a handgun can be. This is such bullshit. A clear case of monkey see monkey do

  23. avatar Felix says:

    So, this city and police department is okay with these unreliable guns (that are no good for them anymore) being resold. I call bull on the whole story. They just wanted the Sig, from the beginning that’s all. Yes, a new toy, lol!

  24. avatar Gunwrites says:

    I am surprised political correctness hasn’t yet infected the Bismark PD and they insist on the S&Ws being destroyed to keep them out of the hands of mere commoners who many believe have no Right whatsoever to own “weapons of mass destruction”.
    Or will they be sold as former Cop Guns at artificially inflated CMP prices for those willing idiots that will pay extra for the cool factor?

  25. avatar JoeVK says:

    In my little town, the officers have to buy their own weapons, so they’re free to pick what they want. Most carry Sig P226s, but I have seen an M&P or two. I don’t recall any carrying Glocks, but I haven’t interacted with the two newest officers yet. Or the Chief for that matter, at least not while he was in uniform.

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